DeLand community helps replace wheelchair ramp that was damaged by tornado

Lowe's to donate supplies, local contractor will build new ramp

DeLAND, Fla. – A community is coming together to help an 80-year-old woman get a new wheelchair ramp and it’s all thanks to a man’s tweet.

Tuesday’s EF-2 tornado damaged parts of Jinny Bates’ house and destroyed her boyfriend’s wheelchair ramp.

“He gets all out of breath very easily, he can’t stand the heat. It takes a while to get his breath back. He’s on oxygen,” Bates said.

The 80-year-old woman said she paid $400 for the ramp last year and it’s not feasible to pay for a new one.

"I put a new roof on and new windows and that kind of drained me," she said.

Bill Bates is Jinny's nephew and is the man who took to social media hoping to find some help. He did not expect help to come within hours.

“I was going to make a Twitter post on (Sheriff) Mike Chitwood’s page and see what kind of response I got,” Bill Bates said.

The response was fast and furious. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood showed up to the house on Amelia Avenue and told the family that Lowe’s in Port Orange contacted him to help install a new ramp.

“Any small thing that we can do for our members of our community, it’s our responsibility as human beings to do that,” Chitwood said.

"It's Neighbors Helping Neighbors, it's us looking out for one another and making sure that we get through this crisis together."

"I never expected it. I'm really grateful," said Jinny Bates.

Chitwood said Lowe’s will donate the materials and a contractor will build the ramp free of charge.

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